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June sees the Total Lubricants Rally Xtreme Challenge move up a gear with two rounds to contest in the month. With the GoPro Daybreaker Rally set for 29 June, next up is the second round of Rally Xtreme, the Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawkes Bay on 2 June.

Taking full advantage of Queens Birthday Weekend, the Sunday event will see the competitors skidding around the roads to the north of Napier, over 9 special stages and 130km of competition.

Top seed, and returning to Rally Xtreme for the first time this season, is event sponsor and Rally Xtreme round sponsor Stewart Taylor. “The Tomoana Warehousing name has been influential over many years with the Hawkes Bay Rally, and we are extremely lucky to have their support extend into the Rally Xtreme Series”, said sponsorship co-ordinator Dylan Turner.

Having won his home event last year, Taylor is again looking to defend his turf and get his season off to a flying start.

However Taylor will be pushed hard as 36 of the 49 competitors registered for Xtreme have entered. Round One winner Dylan Turner leads a pack that fought hard last outing, including Sloan Cox, Geof Argyle, Neil Marshal and Nigel Adams, just to mention a few. With the top 14 seeded entries all contesting Rally Xtreme, the challenge will be hard fought.

Leading the two wheel drive pack are again the three main protagonists from round one, Dave Strong, Grant Liston, and Phil Campbell. They are being joined for the first time this season by Tony McConachy, who will give them a hurry up on roads he knows well.

However the dark horse in these ranks is a driver who has returned to driving after a long sabbatical. Four time NZ Rally Champion Bruce Herbert last won the national title in 2003, and 10 years later he has traded his Subaru Impreza for a Toyota Carolla AE86, making it almost 20 years since he last threw a 2WD car sideways on gravel. Despite this it is unlikely Herbert will have lost any of his competitive spirit and talent, so it will be interesting to see just how he can shake up the field.

Contesting the Power Stage at this round will be the XT4 2WD Club competitors as they take on the Triple Bridges Stage 7 and chase the $500 cash. It is looking likely that the winner will be in a Toyota, with Greg Browne, Lyndsay Homes, Mike Goldsbury, and 17 year old Max Bayley, all in one form or another of the marquee. In fact the only XT4 competitor not branded that way is Kevin Preest in his Suzuki Baleno.

Once again there will be a charity auction in support of the Make-a-wish Foundation, including the generous support of Total Lubricants who have put up a voucher for their top quality oil products. “We have already raised $1,140, and are looking to add to this tally”, says Tanya Gwynne.

For rally information and spectator maps head to www.hbcarclub.co.nz
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